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Motocycles of 1899, Unusual automobiles, trucks & motorcycles

Articles from American Machinist Magazine reprinted by Lindsay Publications

The title is motocycles. NOT motoRcycles. In 1899 I guess the term "automobile" had not yet become universal. This is a fascinating collection of articles written for machinists when autos were brand new.

Ignorant people often think Henry Ford invented the auto when he started producing the Model T in 1908. Bunk! When these articles appeared in 1899, Duryeas and Oldsmobiles were being mass produced and sold. Henry Ford had built his first experimental auto just two years before, and was about to organize the "Detroit Automobile Company" which would go belly up in just three years.

Here you get articles that reflect growing interest in horseless carriages. The first article reviews the Orient Electric, the Oakman-Hertel wagon, and the Tinkham two-cycle tricycle as seen at Madison Square Garden in January 1899. Then you get an in-depth look at the Piper & Tinker Steam Wagon.

Next, William Harrison discusses basic design issues so that readers so inclined could think about building their own machines. Then you get a fascinating article about Sylvester Roper and his steam driven racing motorcycles, including some revealing drawings. Roper started building cycles just after the Civil War (late 1860's), and didn't start his last one until after his 73rd birthday!

Hugh Dolnar discusses basic automobile theory, shortcomings, precautions and the like before discussing the "Lifu" steam wagon built and operated in the Isle of Wight. A lengthy illustrated article on Riker's Electric Wagon follows.

Recently Japanese automakers announced they would begin building hybrids: a gas engine drives a generator that charges batteries that power an electric motor. New? Not hardly. Here's a Chicago built hybrid truck from 1899, built to move ten tons!

Then you'll investigate the Crouch steam wagon and get details on how it is fired, driven, and maintained. And then, to hammer home the point that autos, no, make that "motocycles" were old hat when Henry Ford sold his first, check out the article on the Dudgeon steam wagon. It was built and operated in the New York City area in the 1850's!

I keep thinking a lot of middle-aged little boys think they're hot stuff because they drive around town in some fancy automobile. Geez... Any moron who can get a loan can buy such a car, so how hot can their stuff be? But now if that middle-aged little boy were to grow up and build a thousand pound steam-powered auto, then he really would be hot stuff because he would have done something blowhards can only dream of doing. That would be an amazing auto to drive!

Maybe this booklet can provide the ideas to help you build a steam auto. If not, at the very least you'll find it fascinating reading like I did. You get a small jam-packed booklet loaded with photos, drawings and technical details.

Code No. 008751, 48 pages, $14.50

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